The Microbiome and Proper use of Probiotics
It's a strange twist of fate, but our world has become too antiseptic. In the last few years have been several studies out implying that we are 10 times more bacterial DNA then human. However another study released earlier this year suggests that we are indeed more bacterial cells, than human, but those numbers are a bit skewed. The current ratio is 1:1.3 in favor of the bacteria.(12)
Over 70 years ago Louis Pasteur came up with his germ theories. He discovered pasteurization and disinfection, which have become so important to modern surgical aseptic procedures. Another Frenchman and colleague, Claude Bechamp, developed a contrasting theory that the integrity of the terrain of the organism or body is far more important in warding off infections. He proclaimed that if one maintains a healthy lifestyle, one’s immune system would be stronger, which means that one will not be susceptible to all the germs in your environment i.e. the terrain is strong. Pasteur, on the other hand, advocated killing all the germs in order to prevent disease. Pasteur and Bechamp were vociferous adversaries throughout their lives, but it is interesting to note that on his deathbed Pasteur finally acknowledged that he was wrong and Bechamp was right: “le terraine est toute” [the terrain is everything].”(1) Even though Pasteur saw the wisdom in Bechamps concept of a microbiome, Louis' idea won out. Modern medicine has continued the war with bacteria. Some governments took it one step further and has been using bacteria and viruses as a weapon of war. Bacteria are not the enemy!
The Government? Monsanto? Hell YES, but bacteria; NO.
Like people, bacteria are GOOD, BAD or just along for the ride.
The ecology or bio terrain of our bodies is a lesson in balance and moderation, two things that seem difficult to attain. Today's society has become so driven to get more faster that it has forgotten the true meaning of moderation and keeping a balance in your world. They become driven by extremes, wanting, but left feeling like they need to have more at all times. Excess is a sign of success. It is a struggle to keep up with the fast pace expectation and still take the time to make the best choices. Advertising is everywhere. It is pervasive without being pushy. We get trained to thing about certain products as being good old fashioned products we can rely on. Unfortunately any wholesomeness of most products are left only in the consumers memories and not in the product. Like most thing corners are cut to reduce cost of manufacturing and production. What once was real salt is not, instead it’s a refined semi sodium replacement, void of any nutrition value at best. Some replacement products are poison like aspartame. (13)
When knowledge is power and balance is the key.
We need to get back to the basics...we need to get back to a time before we started letting strangers prepare our lives for us. Do you know where your food came from? Think about it? Do you know how many people are involved between the creation of what you eat to your mouth? Scared? You should be.
We are all responsible to find out what we are ingesting. For far too long have we as a society had faith in too many producers. Content in some higher order that suggests people don't hurt each other. WAKE UP!!! The Rockefeller's and Monsanto DON'T care about most people, however; your cash is important! To suggest that businesses like big Pharm. make medicine because they are worried about their fellow man is naive and not based on fact, but on hope.
Conventional medicine to this day follows the Pasteur theory, while practitioners of Natural medicine advocate the truth of the terrain theory put forward by Bechamp.
The Benefits of Bacteria
According to Dr. Jay Davidson, good bacteria do a number of things, they give the bad guys a run for their money for everything we consume, giving the bad bacteria competition for nutrients we consume by extracting minerals and using it to manufacture vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B12, A and Vitamin K. They also produce essential fatty acids to help with digestion. When they good guys eat up the excess sugar it helps them stimulate cell repair, combat allergens and inflammation. 70% of our immune system is made up by bacteria and the immune cells they increase. Was very interested in how Bifidobacterium actually converts cacao into an anti-inflammatory property! (2)
There are numerous bacteria that they have yet to identify and track their roles, and this is a field that will continue to expand and delve deeper into what really makes us work on a molecular level. Instead of creating a sterile bug free environment the need to consider the multifunctional purpose of each cellular being. The complete elimination of anything can and will have a ripple effect on all other life forms.
This brings us to the importance of pre and probiotics when working on creating a healthy body. It becomes even more important when we are taking any or all antibiotics. Their goal is to kill off bacteria. Some are more effective with different types of bacteria, but all kill a multitude of bacteria of different types. Here in lies the problem. Antibiotics leave collateral damage to the body by also killing off good helpful essential bacteria. It is very important when taking any antibiotic for any reason to supplement your bodies’ microbiome with a good probiotic.
So what makes a good probiotic and how do I use them?
Figures estimate that we have 30 Trillion human cells and 39 Trillion bacteria cells,(3) a trillion is 1000 times a billion. When looking at getting a good probiotic, consider looking at getting one with at least 20 billion live bacteria. I feel that most probiotics sold at stores on shelves is a waste of money. You would have to consume bottles to get the comparable number of probiotics from a good refrigerated probiotic with multiple strains inside each capsule.
Most probiotics contain a variety of strains within them, this should be clearly labeled, Culturelle has one that is only Lactobacillus Rhamnosus gg, but most are combinations. It is recommended that you switch up your probiotics to cultivate a healthy microbiome. Switching every month or two to a different product with different strains does just that. It’s a great way of adding diversity to your microbiome and adding to your health. With a healthy biome we are more capable of dealing with the bad germs. When using antibiotics to knock out the bad guys, make sure that you take your probiotics 3-4 hours away from prescription antibiotics.
Top Probiotic Strains
This strain boosts the treatment of respiratory infections, decreases the frequency of yeast infections, relieves IBS, reduces the growth of pathogens in the digestive tract and produces lactase which helps break down the sugar in milk. L. Acidophilus is, in my opinion (6), is the most important strain of the Lactobacillus species. This bacterium colonizes most densely in the small intestine, where it helps maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall, ensure proper nutrient absorption, and support healthy overall digestive function. Research shows that acidophilus also can help ease occasional digestive discomfort. In a double blind placebo controlled study, patients taking this probiotic strain experienced significantly more relief from their symptoms than patients taking a placebo. A separate meta-analysis found that probiotics containing acidophilus help to alleviate occasional diarrhea, and a third study found that supplements containing both acidophilus and B. bifidum help modulate the response of microflora in the intestines to the effects of antibiotics.(6) L. acidophilus is the darling of fermented dairy products, including yogurt. It keeps the balance of good vs. bad bacteria in check and in doing so, aids your immune system. In women, it helps to curb the growth of Candida albicans, a fungus that can cause yeast infections. L. acidophilus has also gained fame for its ability to help maintain cholesterol levels. In the small intestine, L. acidophilus produces many beneficial substances that combat pathogenic microbes, including acidolphilin, acidolin, bacteriocin, and lactocidin.(7)
This assists with digestion issues including Crohn's disease, ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. L. paracasei is a robust strain found in the small intestine. It may also colonize in the colon if taken along with milk protein, which increases its resistance to stomach acid. This probiotic strain has the unique ability to support liver function. A prospective randomized study found that supplementation with a mixture of fiber and probiotics, which included L. paracasei, lowered urine pH and improved liver function in half of subjects.
Plantarum helps treat IBS, Crohn's disease and colitis. It preserves critical nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. L. plantarum is known for its ability to produce hydrogen peroxide. The body uses hydrogen peroxide as a defense against bacteria consumed in food, as well as other microorganisms. Research has also found this strain to be effective in helping support immune function in healthy adults. Found in kimchi, sauerkraut, and other cultured vegetables, this bug is one of the most beneficial bacteria in your body. It survives in the stomach for a long time and performs many functions that help regulate immunity and control inflammation in the gut. It also helps fortify the gut lining, fending off potential invaders that might compromise the intestinal wall and sneak into the bloodstream. In fact, L. plantarum’s beneficial impact on the gut lining is perhaps its most important attribute, for it reduces gut permeability, thereby reducing the associated risks for leaky gut—including an increased risk for virtually every brain disorder. Moreover, L. plantarum can quickly digest protein, and this has the ultimate effect of preventing food allergies and even treating such allergies when they arise. It has been shown in experimental animal studies to protect engineered mice from having clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis and even reduce the inflammatory response typical of that condition. Finally, L. plantarum has an uncanny ability to absorb and maintain important nutrients such as brain-friendly omega- 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. All of these actions make L. plantarum essential for fighting infection and taking control of any pathogenic bacteria. (7) 95% of people in the L. plantarum probiotic group saw a huge reduction in their IBS symptoms…and saw their quality of life increase significantly.
Salivarius makes enzymes that kill bad bacteria, including the kind that causes bad breath. It also helps with flatulence and bloating. L. salivarius is somewhat unique among probiotic strains in that it is capable of growing in less than ideal conditions, including environments high in salt, and with or without oxygen. It is found in the oral cavities (mouth, throat, and sinuses), intestines, and vagina, but grows best in the small intestine. Research has shown that people taking L. salivarius had increased markers of immune activity. An additional study found that supplementing with L. salivarius helps to prevent the colonization of undesirable bacteria. This probiotic strain is known for its ability to survive passage through the GI tract and is thought to be among the best Lactobacillus strains for vaginal health.
Relatively new, this probiotic strain is among the species of Lactobacilli predominantly linked to microflora in the vagina. Women with vaginal discomfort tend to have lower levels of L. gasseri than women with normal vaginal health. L. gasseri also supports digestive health. Research shows that supplementation with a combination of L. gasseri and B. longum helps limit occasional diarrhea in adults. L. gasseri. A number of clinical trials and studies have shown gasseri reduces abdominal fat and supports weight lossThis also helps with easing the pain of menstruation . It can also assist in lowering cholesterol.
colonizes in both the intestine and oral cavity. In human trials, it has been shown to support digestive, oral, and immune health.(4)
This strain pauses bad microbes and prevents them from growing.* Longum also breaks down carbohydrates and reduces the symptoms of seasonal allergies. B. longum is one of the more common strains of Bifidobacteria found in the GI tract. Its digestive benefits stem from its ability to break down carbohydrates and to scavenge and neutralize everyday toxins found in the gut. Preliminary res
research suggests that the antioxidant properties of this probiotic strain include the chelation of metal ions—especially copper—and the scavenging of free radicals.It is also supportive of immune health. Elderly patients administered B. longum showed heightened immune function for 20 weeks after discontinuing supplementation. Just one of the 32 species that belong to the genus bifidobacterium, this is one of the first bugs that colonize our bodies at birth. It has been associated with improving lactose tolerance and preventing diarrhea, food allergies, and the proliferation of pathogens. It’s also known to have antioxidant properties as well as the ability to scavenge free radicals. In laboratory mice, B. longum has been shown to reduce anxiety. Like L. acidophilus, B. longum also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
Lactospore (bacillus coagulans).
This helps to stop the growth of bad bacteria. It also prevents various digestive issues (IBS, diarrhea in both children and adults and stomach ulcers). B. coagulans, like other lactic acid–producing bacteria, produces enzymes that assist in the digestion of lactose. It also improves the body’s ability to use calcium, phosphorus, and iron, and stimulates both gastric juices and gastric motility.This strain also supports vaginal health in women. One study shows that women who took B. coagulans daily saw improvements in their vaginal pH level, with 91 percent of reporting relief from vaginal discomfort.
This strain aids in the prevention of urinary tract infections (UTI), especially those caused by antibiotics. It also helps to build the immune system, assists in digestion of dairy products and helps to fight intestinal tract illnesses. . It also loves to travel to foreign places; that is, a review of research on probiotics finds that Americans traveling from New York, NY, to developing countries and taking L. rhamnosus had a 3.9 percent rate of diarrhea, compared to a 7.4 percent rate for those not taking a probiotic. A second review of research concluded that L. rhamnosus may help improve vaginal and urinary health and decrease vaginal irritation.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus gg
is an extremely well researched probiotic strain. It was patented in 1985 and there have been numerous studies proving more than 44 health benefits of this good bacteria. It has extremely good intestinal wall adhesion and thus considered a good probiotic for clearing the way for your body’s native friendly bacterial strains. This probiotic is best for stimulating the immune system, fighting allergies and helping people have fewer sick days. Additionally it also has some digestive benefits for those with digestive issues like IBS and constipation.
Diabetes management, increase glucose control, Immunity Boosting Effects, fight bacterial infections (general), decrease frequency of ear infections, decrease frequency of respiratory infections, fight vaginosis, decrease frequency & serverity of colds and flu, inhibit ulcer causing H. pylori, stimulate general immunity, enhance immunity in HIV/AIDS patients, decrease HIV/AIDS symptoms, Reduce Allergies And Inflammation, reduce general inflammation, decrease eczema symptoms, prevent atopic eczema, Infant and Baby Benefits of Lactobacillus gg: fight diarrhea (from rotavirus), stimulate infant growth, decrease colic. Cancer Fighting And Preventing: stimulate tumor killing activity, decrease colon cancer risk. Digestive Benefits of Lactobacillus gg: decrease leaky gut symptoms, decrease IBS symptoms, decrease constipation, Lower Bad Cholesterol, decrease LDL-cholesterol (11)
This probiotic strain is the largest population of beneficial bacteria in babies. The amount of B. infantis in our guts decline as we age, but it remains an important part of our microflora. Supplementation with B. infantis has been shown to decrease bloating and bowel movement difficulty. Their primary job is to improve our digestion and to protect us against infection & sickness. B. Infantis has also been scientifically proven to fight allergies & even help prevent kidney stones. B. Infantis accomplishes this by producing large amounts of acid to make our digestive tracts (and the vagina) inhospitable to foreign bacteria and parasites.
Researched B. infantis Benefits, Reduce IBS Symptoms and Acute Diarrhea, reduces acute diarrhea (rotavirus and non-rotavirus), reduce or eliminate symptoms of IBS, Protect Vaginal Canal, B. infantis protect vaginal canal from infection and invasion, Bifido infantis Benefits for Babies and Infants, establish infant microflora, reduce death among very low birth weight infants, increase immunity among very low birth weight infants, Improve Immune System, improve immune system efficiency, reduce inflammatory allergic response, Reduce Risk of Kidney Stones, reduce urinary oxalate (associated with kidney stones)(10)
This increases immune function, helps to fight off infections, makes faster recovery times possible and helps to prevent diarrhea in both adults and children. Bifidobacterium lactis (also called B. animalis): Fermented milk products like yogurt contain this gem, which is well documented to have a powerful effect on preventing digestive ills and boosting immunity. It’s also known to be helpful in knocking out food-born pathogens like salmonella, which causes diarrhea.
Bifidum helps to stop the increase of bad bacteria, heightens the immune system and aids in the digestion process, specifically of dairy products. This probiotic strain is among the first to colonize in the intestines of babies and continues throughout life to be one of the main groups of good flora found in the large intestine. (It can also be found in the small intestine.) In addition to helping promote bacterial balance, it prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria, molds, and yeasts by naturally adhering to the intestinal mucosa better than other bacterial strains. B. Bifidum assists in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, fat, and proteins during digestion. It also produces enzymes that break the larger molecules down into smaller components that the body can more efficiently use. A meta-analysis of double blind human trials found that B. bifidum is one of the probiotic strains that can help alleviate occasional diarrhea, especially when traveling.
Bulgaricus works in your intestinal lining as an enforcer by getting rid of any toxins. This strain also creates its own natural antibiotics. Researched Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Benefits include decrease in triglycerides, LDL levels, total cholesterol, increase immunity and fight viruses, decrease leaky gut symptoms, decrease diarrhea & nausea, improve dairy digestion, decrease inflammation, improve IBS symptoms, decrease tooth decay, manage HIV symptoms, decrease leaky gut, fight dyspepsia (8)
is a very interesting probiotic that has studies showing it can reduce blood pressure. Widely used in Switzerland, it is one of the choice starter cultures for Swiss cheeses! L. Helveticus Benefits (for hypertensive patients) reduces blood pressure, improves sleep quality/duration, increases perception of one’s health
increase levels of serum calcium in blood (see here), decrease PTH (associated with bone loss) normalize microflora colonization composition for infants fed formula, assist in ACE-inhibitor production(9)